How the Tour of Missouri passed the Missouri General Assembly with bipartisan support--and how bicycling came of age in Missouri

This is part of a series, "What has MoBikeFed done for you in 2010?"  Read the remaining articles here.

Tour of Missouri and Missouri Capitol
Tour of Missouri and Missouri Capitol
 

Some have questioned whether the General Assembly really debated and approved a specific appropriation for the Tour of Missouri. If they didn't, then what was the House debating, at length, in these amendments?  And why did Rep. McLanahan specifically mention her "amendment on the floor of the house to remove the funding for the Tour of Missouri" to a news reporter?

Late on the evening of Tuesday, March 23rd, the funding for the Tour of Missouri came under discussion on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives--and was challenged five times. 

Every challenge--to eliminate the funding completely, to reduce it drastically, and to reduce by just a little--was defeated handily and with bipartisan support.

We know the reasons, but it is worth repeating them here:

  • The Tour of Missouri is a world-class, Olympic level event that comes to Missouri every year

  • The Tour brings economic benefit to small and large towns across Missouri

  • Missourians like the Tour

  • Especially Missouri's two millions bicyclists like the Tour

  • And those two million bicyclists vote, donate to political campaigns, and contact their elected officials

  • Visits to the Capitol, phone calls, and email messages by MoBikeFed supporters like you, in support of bicycling in Missouri, have made their mark on Missouri legislators

The story of the debate about the Tour of Missouri on the floor of the House has not been told before. Details can be found starting on page 617 of the House Journal for March 23rd.

Note: Representatives voting against the Tour of Missouri funding are listed below.  Please look up your own legislator's contact info here, and if they did not support the Tour this year, contact them to explain why you support the Tour and ask for their support in the future.

Please be polite and persuasive when you contact your legislators--we really do need their support in future years, and many who opposed this year will support in future years if they know constituents support the Tour.

Prologue - Approval of Tour of Missouri funding in the House Budget Committee

Thanks to strong support from

Rep Allen Icet of Wildwood
Rep Allen Icet of Wildwood
 Rep. Allen Icet of Wildwood, chair of the House Budget Committee, and others on the Budget Committee, the funding for the 2010 Tour of Missouri was included in the budget for the Division of Tourism recommended by the Budget Committee.

Of course, that's only the first step in the process!  The budget must be approved by the full House of Representatives, then on to the Senate and finally to Governor Nixon for his approval.

When the bill funding the Division of Tourism and related departments, HB 2007, came to a vote on the floor of the House, several amendments were offered and debated.

Of these, five would have eliminated or reduced funding for the Tour of Missouri.

All of those amendments were defeated with bipartisan support.  Here is how it happened:

Amendment No. 11 - Eliminate all Tourism funding

The first amendment dealing

Rep. Andrew Koenig of St Louis County
Rep. Andrew Koenig of St Louis County
with the Division of Tourism's budget was House Amendment No. 11, offered by Rep. Andrew Koenig of St Louis County.

The proposal was to completely eliminate the Division of Tourism and its budget. This, of course, would include complete elimination of the Tour of Missouri funding, but only as a side effect of completely eliminating the Division of Tourism.

This amendment had little support--Tourism brings in about $2.50 in state tax revenue for each $1 spent, so even in difficult budget years it makes little sense to eliminate Tourism spending, especially when future years are expected to be worse for state revenue that the current year.

This amendment was defeated by a vote of 15 for and 136 against.

Amendment No. 14 - Reduce Tour of Missouri funding by $900,000

Rep. Jeff Roorda of Jefferson County
Rep. Jeff Roorda of Jefferson County

The next amendment dealing with the Tour of Missouri funding was House Amendment No. 14, offered by Rep. Jeff Roorda of Jefferson County.

This amendment reduced the amount appropriated for the 2010 Tour of Missouri from $1 million to $900,000.

(Keep in mind that that appropriation for the 2009 Tour of Missouri was $1.5 million, so the initial proposal of $1 million already represented a significant budget reduction.)

This Amendment was defeated by a vote of 63 for and 87 against.

Those voting to reduce the Tour's funding:

Atkins Aull Bringer Brown 30 Burnett Casey Cooper Corcoran Curls Davis Day Dethrow Dougherty Dugger Emery Englund Ervin Frame Hodges Hoskins 80 Hummel Jones 63 Kander Kelly Koenig Komo Kuessner Lampe LeBlanc LeVota Liese McClanahan McDonald McNeil Meadows Morris Newman Norr Oxford Pace Quinn Roorda Rucker Scavuzzo Schieffer Schoemehl Self Shively Skaggs Still Storch Swinger Talboy Todd Wallace Walsh Walton Gray Webb Webber Whitehead Wilson 119 Witte Yaeger

Amendment 15 - Completely Eliminate Tour of Missouri funding

Rep. McClanahan of Kirksville offered

Rep. Rebecca McClanahan of Kirksville
Rep. Rebecca McClanahan of Kirksville
House Amendment No. 15, to completely remove the $1 million funding set aside for the 2010 Tour of Missouri.

KTVO3 News reported Rep. McClanahan's comments about her amendment:

"I actually offered an amendment on the floor of the house to remove the funding for the Tour of Missouri" said McClanahan.  "I found it more fitting to take that money and use it to transport pupils on our buses to and from school."

This amendment, even more drastic than Amendment No. 14, received even fewer votes in support.  The amendment was defeated by a vote of 49 in favor and 99 opposed.

Representatives voting to eliminate 2010 Tour of Missouri funding:

Atkins Aull Bringer Brown 30 Burnett Cooper Curls Davis Dethrow Emery Englund Ervin Flook Frame Hodges Hughes Jones 89 Kander Kelly Koenig Komo Kuessner Lampe LeBlanc LeVota Liese McClanahan McNeil Molendorp Newman Norr Oxford Pratt Quinn Roorda Rucker Scavuzzo Schieffer Shively Skaggs Still Swinger Talboy Tilley Todd Walsh Walton Gray Webber Witte 

Amendment 16 - Reduce funding by $100,000

Next was an attempt to reduce the Tour's funding by just a small amount.

These and the other votes for amendments with slightly varying features are typical of legislative maneuvering around and issue.

If support can be found for even a small reduction in a program, that shows it is vulnerable and often larger cuts or changes will follow.

On the other hand, if the attempt to reduce funding by even a very small amount is defeated, that shows support for this issue is strong and it will likely withstand all challenges.

In this case, the Amendment, introduced by Rep. Roorda (who introduced numerous cost cutting measures in every budget bill, not just HB 2007) was defeated by a vote of 67 for and 86 against.

Representatives voting in favor of the $100,000 cut in 2010 Tour of Missouri funding:

Atkins Aull Bringer Brown 30 Bruns Burlison Burnett Cooper Curls Davis Deeken Dethrow Dixon Dusenberg Emery Englund Ervin Flook Franz Grisamore Hobbs Hodges Hughes Jones 89 Jones 117 Kander Koenig Komo Kraus Kuessner Lampe LeBlanc LeVota Liese Lipke McClanahan McNary McNeil Munzlinger Newman Norr Oxford Parson Pratt Quinn Riddle Roorda Rucker Ruestman Sander Scavuzzo Schieffer Schoemehl Self Shively Silvey Skaggs Smith 14 Still Swinger Talboy Todd Tracy Wasson Webber Witte Yaeger

Amendment No 17 - Cut the Tour's budget to $500,000

Representative Rucker of St Joseph introduced

Rep. Martin Rucker of St Joseph
Rep. Martin Rucker of St Joseph
Amendment No. 17, calling for the Tour of Missouri Funding to be reduced from $1 million to $500,000.

This represented yet another attempt to see if support for the Tour was strong or weak.

If support were even a little soft, in a tough budget year some more votes for cutting, but not eliminating, the Tour's budget might be found.

This represented probably the biggest threat to the Tour. Cutting the budget by 2/3 (compared with 2009) is appealing in a tough budget year and many might vote for this amendment feeling the Tour could survive in 2010 even with this very reduced budget.

But with only six months until race day, could the event survive such a drastic budget reduction?

Everyone would like to see the state's support for the Tour gradually reduce from year to year, and private support increase.

In 2011 or 2012, this is probably a realistic budget.  But in 2010--it would have been very hard or impossible.

Regardless, this attempt to reduce the budget was defeated as well, by a vote of 64 in favor and 89 against.

Representatives who voted in favor of cutting the Tour of Missouri budget by $500,000:

Atkins Aull Bringer Brown 30 Burnett Carter Curls Davis Dethrow Dougherty Dusenberg Emery Englund Ervin Flook Frame Hodges Hoskins 80 Hughes Jones 63 Jones 89 Kander Kelly Koenig Kraus Kuessner Lampe Largent LeBlanc LeVota Liese Low McClanahan McDonald McNary McNeil Morris Nasheed Newman Norr Oxford Pace Pratt Quinn Roorda Rucker Scavuzzo Scharnhorst Schieffer Shively Skaggs Still Swinger Talboy Thomson Todd Walsh Walton Gray Webb Webber Whitehead Witte Wright Yaeger

Conclusion - The Tour of Missouri has bipartisan support; Bicycling comes of age in Missouri

With the defeat of Amendment No 17, the attempt to remove or reduce the 2010 Tour of Missouri funding was defeated in the House.

Having the Tour debated, at length, on the floor of the House, and to survive that debate with strong bipartisan support tells us something important:

Bicycling as an issue has come of age in Missouri. It is debated on the floor of the House and the Senate.  It is the subject of attention of our highest elected leaders, include (recently) the members of the General Assembly, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Governor.

Bicycling issues have been part of major political campaigns and several issues involving bicycling--the Taum Sauk disaster and inclusion of Katy Trail funding in the settlement, Boonville MKT Bridge preservation as part of the Katy Trail corridor, and the Tour of Missouri--have been the subject of statewide debate and press coverage involving our highest elected officials.

And not just the subject of coverage and a subject of interest, but something that key elected leaders fight to show they support.

Governor Blunt and Attorney General Nixon fought to show their support for the Katy Trail in both the Taum Sauk settlement and the MKT Bridge issue.  

Many key elected officials have now attended and shown their support for the Tour of Missouri.

MoDOT Chief Engineer Kevin Keith, who will be Interim Director of MoDOT starting April 23rd, has helped develop and endorsed a plan to carry forward a large number of key bicycle, pedestrian, and ADA projects in Missouri.

All this is the result of citizens like you pulling together to change Missouri.

When we are organized and work together through groups like the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation and our local and regional partners across the state, we make a difference.

We are quite literally changing the landscape of Missouri, to one that is better, safer, and more inviting for bicycling and walking.

Thank you for your support, your emails, your phone calls, and your visits to your elected leaders.

Those personal connections are making it happen.

And--your support of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation is absolutely key.

Thanks to your support, we have been able to develop personal legislative contacts, have a person on the ground in Jefferson City at all times, we have staff time we can devote to major issues like this, and we have developed the advocacy network and communications tools needed to reach our elected officials.

What's next?

HB 2007 moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Thanks to support from key leaders and thousands of emails and phone calls from supporters, the Committee supported the same level of funding for the Tour that passed the House of Representatives.

Now HB 2007 has been passed by the Senate and gone to conference committee, where the two chambers work out the differences between the two budgets.

Since the Tour of Missouri funding remained the same in the language passed by the Senate and the House, it should remain intact in the final version. 

However a call or email of support to the budget committee chairs (Senator Mayer and Representative Icet) are still important.

Contact your Representatives

What about representatives who voted against Tour of Missouri funding this year?

Those representatives are listed above.

Please do look up your own legislators and their contact info here

If your representative opposed the Tour, please email or call:

  • Explain why you support the Tour.

  • Ask for their support in the future.

  • Keep in mind that they may have voted against Tour funding for a wide variety of reasons--from worry about the current budget situation to instructions received from their party leaders. Sometimes they are just trying to make a political point of one sort or another. When they discover their constituents strongly supporting the Tour, that is likely to strongly influence their support in the future.

  • Please be polite and persuasive when you contact your legislators--we really do need their support in future years, and many who opposed this year will support in future years if they know constituents support the Tour.

Building support for bicycling, encouraging bicycle tourism, promoting Missouri as a bicycle, trails, and outdoor recreation destination, and supporting and promoting high profile events that promote bicycling are all goals in the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.

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